By Aphrodite Kotrotsios and Fotis Kaliambakos – Special to Hellenic News of America
Matthew Bogdanos, a Greek-American assistant district attorney in Manhattan, has become a well-known figure in Greece because of his role in the New York District Attorney’s Office’s recurring ceremony of returning ancient artifacts to the Greek government. This event attracted considerable attention from the Greek-American community and Greek television correspondents.
The exhibits included notable ancient objects from various periods of Greek history, such as Cycladic figurines, Mycenaean pottery and vessels. Remarkable pieces from the 6th, 5th and 4th centuries BC, including armor and helmets, mainly from Attica, Corinth and Chalkidiki, were also part of the exhibition. The journey through millennia of Greek history culminated in the Byzantine era with a large silver plaque and image of the Virgin Mary.
Among the finds were two impressive statues, including the torso of a female figure and a better-preserved replica with the head. The estimated value of these items is approximately $3.7 million. However, as Konstantinos Konstantinou, Consul General of Greece in New York, pointed out, the true value of these objects is immeasurable, as they are an integral part of Greece’s historical and cultural heritage.
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Matthew Bogdanos recognized the efforts of Chief of Investigations and Special Agent Thomas Acocella and honored the entire Antiquities Trafficking Unit. Bogdanos has a long history of preserving world cultural heritage objects, dating back to his service in the United States Marine Corps. During his time in Iraq, he helped save many artifacts from looting and destruction at the National Museum in Baghdad. From his current position, he has dismantled antiquities trafficking networks, with similar ceremonies taking place for objects from various historical periods.
Matthew Bogdanos also shared a personal connection to his Greek heritage, mentioning his father who, like many first-generation immigrants, worked hard in restaurants. Every evening when his father came home, he would often play the nostalgic song “White Day Will Come for Us,” a tune that holds a special place in this proud Greek-American’s heart.
In summary, Matthew Bogdanos continues to play a crucial role in the repatriation of Greek antiquities, the preservation of Greek cultural heritage and the promotion of international cooperation in the fight against antiquities trafficking. His dedication to this cause made him a respected figure both in the United States and in Greece.